Aired December 5, 2013 on ieTV. Wide ranging discussion on sexual orientation and immigration and national policy in the Caribbean.
Nice to see that Jamaicans are continuing to work to make a change. A series of videos designed to address homophobia in Jamaica.
To the music of Mackelmore and Ryan who created the wonderful ‘Same Love’ video.
Blabbeando reports that J-FLAG produced a series of videos to address the issue.
J-FLAG Boss Headlines New Human Rights Video Campaign
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Dane Lewis, the executive director of J-FLAG, Jamaica’s foremost gay rights advocacy organisation, is headlining a new a human rights video campaign featuring straight, gay and lesbian Jamaicans.
The campaign, which is called We Are Jamaicans was launched today to raise awareness among Jamaicans about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity and community, human rights, stigma and discrimination. We Are Jamaicans is a participatory video campaign hosted on YouTube athttps://www.youtube.com/user/EqualityJA. It features prominent Jamaicans such as Susan and Alexis Goffe and Javed Jaghai.
According to Lewis, “the campaign was developed following recommendations from consultations with LGBT persons, activists and allies to show the experiences of Jamaica’s LGBT community in a more diverse way.”
There is an urgent need to interrupt prevailing discourse on LGBT realities in Jamaica. Opportunities must be created for Jamaicans to see and hear about the experiences of LGBT people so they can understand what it means to be LGBT.
“Regrettably, the diversity and the complexity of Jamaica’s LGBT community is masked by media and advocacy narratives that too often focus on sex, victimhood, crime and HIV. These themes are not identity-affirming and they sometimes further entrench the marginal position of LGBT people in the society,” Lewis said.
Javed Jaghai, an openly gay Jamaican, says that ignorance helps to fuel homophobia and the campaign will be critical for increasing understanding among the Jamaican public about gender and sexuality variance. “By diversifying the stories told about LGBT lives, the complexity of LGBT identities will be made apparent and it will be easier to evoke empathy and secure general support for tolerance,” he highlighted.
The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) through its Global Fund Vulnerablised Project funds the campaign. It is expected to lead to greater understanding and help change minds and hearts about Jamaica’s LGBT community. Gay, lesbian and straight Jamaicans are encouraged to use creative ways of sharing their experiences with LGBT issues and join the campaign whether they wish to show their face or not.
Contact: Dane Lewis | Executive Director
P.O. Box 1152, Kingston 8 T: 978-8988 | M: 875 2328 | F: 946-3244
You want bravery and admirable activism well here it is. Javed Jaghai speaking about what it is to be gay in Jamaica. Guaranteed none of the people who go about hating and bashing in Jamaica would have even a tiny percentage of his courage. Now if only I could send the seemingly clueless interviewer that there is a word ‘gay’ and that ‘the homosexual” is only showing she hasn’t attempted to expand her reading horizons much. Maybe I will send her GLAAD guide for Xmas.
“Heterosexuals don’t walk around saying I am heterosexual” – Oy! Host head slap.
But yes, Jamaica you really are as homophobic as the world thinks you are.
(link via Corve Costa )
The Animals Are Human Too activist and COP member who sparked a public outcry over a controversial Facebook post regarding the murder of San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray’s daughter. Aired on ieTV June 15, 2012.
ORAM, the organization that works to help LGBTI people life in unsafe countries to find safety elsewhere in the world. On their site they describe their mission:
ORAM provides clients with free legal counseling and assistance, including representation at UNHCR proceedings. We assist refugees through their passage to safety, often until they are permanently resettled in new countries.
Visit their website here.
The organization has released a series of narration free animated videos telling the personal stories of what the reality of life is for LGBTI people living in hostile environments. Deeply thought provoking and maddening. The countries featured in these three videos ( in order ) are Jamaica, Iraq and Iran. A warning – although they are animated some of the images are disturbing.
Thanks to his comment on my blog I can post the Mista Majah response to Bruce Golding’s homophobic remarks about LGBT people.
This must be a first for a Jamaican reggae artist.
I can admit happily I have no clue what he is saying.
I was aware of the conviction of Buju Banton shortly after it happened, but given my feelings on that particular individual I decided to give it 24 hours. I gather that bloggers around the region have been lamenting the verdict with various reasons ranging from him being framed to some nebulous conspiracy that involves him being Caribbean and the ever popular gay agenda. Global Voices Online is even reporting that Jamaica is in mourning.
The fact is there is video of Buju Banton chatting with federal agents and tasting the cocaine ( presumably that requires some experience) and he is now convicted. What is the problem? It seems that Caribbean people expect to have a different standard of justice and/or they are too stupid to recognize that their idols have clay feet. Now to the gay agenda conspiracy. Mark Anthony Myrie ( his real name) is probably most famous for his song “Boom Bye Bye” that celebrated the killing of gay people. Under the threat of boycotts and several cancellations Myrie claimed he would change his ways but he subsequently reversed that decision. The lyrics of the song are in Jamaican English but here are a few of them with a translation by soulrebels.org :
Boom bye bye
[Boom (as in gun sound) goodbye, goodbye]
(as in we won’t be seeing you again, you’re dead)
Inna batty bwoy head
[In a queer’s head]
Rude bwoy no promote no nasty man
[Rude boys don’t promote no queer men] (Rude boys: dancehall singers)
Dem haffi dead
[They have to die]
Send fi di matic an
[Send for the automatic [gun] and]
Di Uzi instead
[The Uzi instead]
Shoot dem no come if we shot dem
[Shoot them, don’t come if we shoot them] (as in don’t come to help them)
Guy come near we
[If a man comes near me]
Then his skin must peel
[Then his skin must peel] (as in pour acid over him)
Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel
[Burn him up badly, like you would burn an old tire wheel]
I am not sure how that can be interpreted as anything other than inciting killing but it seems that doesn’t concern regional bloggers. He has other songs, of course, but I am sure that even the KKK has statements that concern things other than lynching black people.
So here is my brief measured statement with simultaneous translation of real feelings.:
Buju is a major figure in Caribbean culture but his achievements should not be viewed in isolation.
TRANSLATION: He is a dangerous person who hates gay people and putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it fine.
While his conviction on federal drug dealing charges is the verdict of the US courts there is a strong view among people in the wider Caribbean that all is not as it seems.
TRANSLATION: Many people in the Caribbean are shocked that he isn’t treated as a saint because he is from Jamaica and the legacy of colonialism should excuse him from drug crimes. Never mind he wants gay people dead – he is Jamaican!
It is unfortunate that he finds himself in this situation but given the sensitivity of Caribbean culture it is to be hoped that this is considered in his sentencing.
TRANSLATION: He tried to deal drugs, he is beyond contempt and I truly hope the reprehensible slime rots in jail.
In conclusion, I can only quote a female friend from Trinidad whose Facebook status said : “boom bye bye homophobe.”
Read the conviction story on CBC News here.
If you want real Caribbean culture try these on for size.
I guess Cher might describe this as “a different kind of love story”. Congrats to them.
“A thrice-married former fireman in Britain, who underwent a sex change to become a woman, has tied the knot with a Jamaican lesbian chef he met online.
Kerry Whybrow, 66, formerly Roger Steed, had met Alcia Evans, a mother of one and almost 30-years her junior, through an international dating website.
The 6ft 2in former angling instructor met Evans in 2008 and had spent just a fortnight with the 37-year-old Jamaican before she flew to England to prepare for their “wedding”…
The Daily Mail has even more comprehensive coverage with pictures here.
Some days I wake up and the news makes me cheery while other days it makes me really pissed. Today was one of the pissed days. I met an email in my inbox from the IGLHRC noting that they were ” deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.” Deeply disappointed with? Maybe they are afraid to say they are disgusted with the ill-informed piss poor states who supported the removal – I’m not . The motion was introduced by Benin which will now forever be associated with evil in my mind. Included in the list of supporters of the removal are such human rights luminaries as Iran, Afghanistan and China.
Most disturbing was the number of Caribbean states that chose to either support the removal of the clause or abstain. The Caribbean has good reason to be ashamed today and LGBT people should have a look at the list at the bottom of the release and know exactly what their government thinks of them. The Jamaican PM’s recent hints that he supports the rights of all people and T&T’s new government’s words about inclusiveness can now be exposed as the hypocrisy that they are. Yet another fine example of the developing world showing the rest of the planet why no one should take it too seriously when it comes to human rights.
If there are any errors in this quick post I will correct them later – I am too pissed right now.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.
The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings – including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.
The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was sponsored by Benin on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly and was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.
“This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development,” said Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of IGLHRC. “It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.”
This decision in the General Assembly flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that people are routinely killed around the world because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, and renders these killings invisible or unimportant. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has highlighted documented cases of extrajudicial killings on the grounds of sexual orientation including individuals facing the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct; individuals tortured to death by State actors because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; paramilitary groups killing individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as part of “social cleansing” campaigns; individuals murdered by police officers with impunity because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; and States failing to investigate hate crimes and killings of persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
“It is a matter of great shame that the responsible Committee of the United Nations General Assembly failed in its responsibility to explicitly condemn well-documented killings based on sexual orientation,” said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC international. “The credibility of the United Nations requires protection of all persons from violations of their fundamental human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank those States which supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the text, and will redouble our collective efforts to ensure that Member States of the United Nations maintain the standards they have sworn to uphold.”
The amendment runs counter to other positive developments in UN and regional human rights systems where there is increased recognition of the need for protection from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. At a September 2010 panel held in conjunction with a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally recognized “the particular vulnerability of individuals who face criminal sanctions, including imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty, on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Sixty-eight countries have also signed a joint statement in the UN General Assembly on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity which calls for an end to “human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity … in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground [and] extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”
IGLHRC and ARC International urge all States, regardless of their vote on this amendment, to sign the UNGA joint statement affirming support of the human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and to continue in efforts to decriminalize same-sex conduct and to end other discrimination, including violence, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The votes to amend the resolution were as follows:
In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70):
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan